As Predicted, Dems Push for More Gun Control

As Predicted, Dems Push for More Gun Control

After a significant year for the gun control movement in 2018, momentum for stricter firearms laws in states across the country likely will accelerate this year.

In states where Democrats made big gains in the November elections, lawmakers are quickly moving legislation to raise the buying age for guns and to ban assault-style weapons. Other measures, including bills to limit gun access for domestic abusers and people who may harm themselves or others, have increasing bipartisan support.

The national conversation about guns is changing, said Robert Spitzer, a professor of political science at the State University of New York College at Cortland and the author of five books on gun control.

“There’s been a flood of new legislation,” he said. “With more state legislatures in Democratic hands, with the sense you can enforce new gun laws and it not be a stigma, there’s not only momentum but concrete evidence that those who want to see stronger gun laws are making headway.”

Already this year, lawmakers in more than a dozen states have introduced at least 50 major gun control bills, including measures to expand background checks and ban lethal accessories like bump stocks, according to a count by the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun control organization co-founded by former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Democrat who survived a 2011 shooting.

To be sure, Republicans who still control most state legislatures likely will pass gun rights legislation. At least 26 state bills would significantly expand gun access, according to the Giffords Law Center.

North Dakota, for example, is moving a bill to boost school security using armed guards, and several other states are following suit.

But student survivors of the February 2018 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead helped galvanize a national movement for stricter gun laws. In 2018, 27 state legislatures passed 67 new laws aimed at restricting access to guns.


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